Beyond origami Yoda

You’ll know I love a bit of crafting, but other than Christmas cards, I’ve never got into paper crafts. Lockdown has, however, started one of my friends into ridiculously intricate paper cutting, and we have a tin stuffed with about ten thousand origami Yoda’s (if you haven’t seen the Origami Yoda series by Tom Angleberger, the instructions are at the end of each book in the series – highly recommended). Anyway, I spotted the cutest sloth paper animal kit on social media so I invited Sam White to talk to us about her kits. Over to her …

There are many reasons why so many people are turning to crafting these days. Above the usual stresses of modern life, now being stuck indoors has certainly added a different kind of pressure and overwhelm for parents. I do feel your pain … At the end of the day, just being mum, it really can be exhausting, and just leave us feeling stir crazy. The modern mum is a busy one, however you can’t continue to be everything to everyone, eventually it will catch up with you! What I’ve learned recently, is that I need to take time for myself, to rejuvenate, to make sure I am not lost while trying to hold everything together. 

How to achieve this eluded me for a while, and then, at the end of last year, I decided to try something completely new, that was just for me, and I tried my hand at crafting. I bought an animal crafting kit from Flamingo Paperie and very soon, I literally had this eureka moment, when I realised, I absolutely love this!!! Not only was I learning a new skill, but I realised I was able, even as a beginner, to create something that not only looked good, but made me feel good! The whole process was so relaxing. I’d achieved something I didn’t know I could … crafting with Flamingo Paperie really has brought something fantastic into my life.

If you’re looking for different things to do, to keep everyone entertained, why not while away a few hours with some paper crafting? I mean who doesn’t love sloths and unicorns…  right!? Everything you need to create your own three-D animal model is included in the kit – all the templates, high adhesion craft glue, sticks for craft glue application, scissors and a scoring tool to create those crisp folds too. Just look at the proud “parents” of these completed craft animals…

Here is a short, speeded up, video of Emily and Joe creating one of the latest craft models, the Koala… they make it look so easy!

You can see product information for the full range, and buy online, at http://www.flamingopaperie.co.uk/web/samwhite/area/craft-kits/

Can children create with Flamingo Paperie’s Animal Crafting Kits?

 Absolutely yes! The kits are aimed at children aged 12+ and adults, however with help from parents a younger child can get involved too.

How long does a kit take to complete?

Kits have varying timescales for completion, but you can expect crafting fun to last 3-18 hours depending on the kit purchased.

How much are the 3D craft Kits from Flamingo Paperie?

They start from £15, including everything you’ll need, even a pair of scissors! You won’t need to find any fancy or expensive tools to help you complete a kit – everything’s in the box.

SPECIAL OFFER

Free postage over £30, and, even better, when you join the Customer Club, you receive a freebie with your first online order. Www.flamingopaperie.co.uk/web/samwhite/area/customer_club/

Have fun,

Sam x

Follow me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/samwhitephoenixtrader

An African adventure for lockdown travellers

I think we’re all craving travel at the moment, even a trip to the shops makes me quite excited, while my annual trip to the Scottish Highlands is looking unlikely, and ditto any sailing this year. If you’ve followed my blog over the past few months, you’ll know I’ve devoured the first two of Roxana Valea’s “Polo Diaries” series (and am about to start the third). These are fiction but based heavily on her life, so I couldn’t resist a purely non-fiction account of her African adventure, Through Dust and Dreams. And I wasn’t disappointed. I absolutely love her writing – you can see the journalism training in her engaging, pacey style – there’s not a dull moment in this. Splash an Amarula into your coffee and find a comfy spot in the sunshine, you won’t want to put it down.

Author bio

Roxana Valea was born in Romania and lived in Italy, Switzerland, England and Argentina before settling in Spain. She has a BA in journalism and an MBA degree. She spent more than twenty years in the business world as an entrepreneur, manager and management consultant working for top companies like Apple, eBay, and Sony. She is also a Reiki Master and shamanic energy medicine practitioner.

As an author, Roxana writes books inspired by real events. Her memoir Through Dust and Dreams is a faithful account of a trip she took at the age of twenty-eight across Africa by car in the company of two strangers she met over the internet. Her following book, Personal Power: Mindfulness Techniques for the Corporate World is a nonfiction book filled with personal anecdotes from her consulting years. The Polo Diaries series is inspired by her experiences as a female polo player–traveling to Argentina, falling in love, and surviving the highs and lows of this dangerous sport.

Roxana lives with her husband in Mallorca, Spain, where she writes, coaches, and does energy therapies, but her first passion remains writing.

Lockdown Jingle Bells

The arrival of a shiny new Zara Stoneley usually kicks off my festive season. Since we’re in lockdown, I thought a dash of Zara would be just the ticket.

Every other book by this author has been a flat out 5 stars but I had more mixed views on this one. The writing style is as smooth as ever, but the plot is predictable from page one, without even a hint of a twist. I’m also sure I’ve seen a movie with an identical storyline, although I can’t recall for the life of me what it was called and that’s really bugging me now! I also never quite bought into Rosie’s totally clueless dating skills. That said, it was a lovely easy lockdown read and whiled away a few hours in the sunshine and, since that’s exactly what I was looking for, I’m happy. And I can’t wait for her next festive read. I’ve just had a thought – what if there isn’t one this year? I might forget to put the Christmas decorations up!

Blurb

After breaking up with her childhood sweetheart, clueless dater Rosie has found herself in a boyfriend-drought. So when she finally swipes right on a guy who seems interested, she can’t wait to meet up IRL.

Until she’s left standing alone. In a bar. Ghosted.

Enter Noah. Confident, funny … and a serial first dater. Offering to give Rosie a crash course in seduction, this could be just what she needs. Until her matchmaker turns out to be the best date she’s ever had – and Rosie wonders if she wants the fake dates to be the real ones after all …

Author bio

Zara Stoneley is the USA Today bestselling author of ‘The Wedding Date’. She lives in a Cheshire village with her family, a lively cockapoo called Harry, and a very bossy (and slightly evil) cat called Saffron.

Born in a small village in the UK, Zara wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when she grew up. After many (many) years, and many different jobs, her dream of writing a bestseller came true. She now writes about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hopes that her tales make you laugh a lot, cry a little, and occasionally say ‘ahhh’.

Zara’s bestselling novels include ‘Four Christmases and a Secret’, ‘Bridesmaids’, ‘No One Cancels Christmas’, ‘The Wedding Date’, ‘The Holiday Swap’, ‘Summer with the Country Village Vet’, ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ and the popular Tippermere series – ‘Stable Mates’, ‘Country Affairs’ and ‘Country Rivals’.

A fresh take on magic school

If you thought every possible magic school angle had been taken, think again! No boarding school here – pupils arrive via their regular secondary school every morning. Now it does draw on Harry Potter in other ways with this entire first book basically being the sorting hat chapter (which just happens to be one of my favourite bits), and I spotted one of Hagrid’s famous lines – “Shouldn’t have said that” – but the world is distinct and I absolutely loved it.

This is a really short book – perfect for chapter book readers (I’d say 6-9, although Amazon seems to have it classified as 10-14 which I’d disagree with) or reluctant readers who would struggle to tackle Harry Potter.

It’s going to be a series, but I gather the other books can be read in any order as long as you start with this one so the world building is done. I love that this allows the readers to jump straight to their favourite characters and houses.

The other books are simply subtitled in a reading scheme style that will make it easy for the younger fans e.g. “Phoebe makes a mess” and “Maisy takes a tumble”.

Can’t wait to read more.

About the author

Normally I’d share a photo of the author, but she’s very camera shy, so I have nothing! Here’s one of her characters instead …

One last thing I have to add, the dedication is terribly sad – my heart goes out to the author and her family.

Votes for Women

I shared this interview with Jill Atkins, author of Votes for Women, an amazing narrative non-fiction for ages 9+, with my newsletter a while ago, but with so many of us homeschooling now, I though it would be helpful to share again.

Jill is in my local SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) group and, as a prolific author with more than 100 books published, I confess I’m a little in awe of her (make that a lot!). Anyway, she’s super lovely and I’m going to hand over the pen to her now …..

One of my latest books is called ‘Votes for Women’. It’s for young people aged anywhere between 9 and adult and it tells the story of Rose, and her cousin Freddie, both born in 1900, who are aged 12 when Rose’s story begins. The book is partly narrative, part diary, with letters, postcards and a telegram. 

When I was asked by an editor at Hodder to write this book I was really excited and delighted because women’s suffrage has always interested me and is dear to my heart. We have a lot to thank many people for, because their campaigning eventually gave women a vote. I strongly believe that all people should vote in elections because it took a long time and a tremendous effort to achieve the right to do so.

To write this book, I had to get the facts right because, although it is a work of fiction, it is based on things that really happened just over 100 years ago. So I needed to research carefully. I bought books, borrowed from the library and found information on the internet. I also needed to know about daily life at that time. For example, what were telephones like in those days? What would a twelve year old wear? What kind of education did girls have? Did they have equal opportunities to boys? 

I had heard of Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters who led the ‘Suffragette’ movement, but I needed to know more about them and the others who strove for the vote with them. They held marches and meetings, but also performed acts of vandalism like setting fire to pillar boxes and they went to prison for it. Rose’s sister is for this movement.

What I didn’t know was that other people (mainly women – ‘Suffragists’) had been working peacefully for the same cause for about 50 years. Rose’s Granny was a ‘Suffragist’.

Then I imagined I was twelve years old in 1912 and wrote her story, through her eyes: what she witnessed and experienced; how she felt; what conclusions she came to about the rights and wrongs of the different groups of people. I hope you’d love to read ‘Votes for Women’ and learn about how women got to vote.

This isn’t the first historical fiction I’ve written: The Great Fire of London is about a boy waking up as the first warning shouts are heard in the streets of London; Sophie’s Secret War is the diary of a girl experiencing the German occupation of northern France in the Second World War; Royal Nursemaid is about a girl who becomes the nursemaid to Queen Victoria’s children in the mid 1800s.

I’ve also written early reading books and books for young teens. One of the teen books is called ‘A Brightness out of the Blue’. This is a modern-day story, based on the story of Cinderella with a twist.

I began writing for children when I was a teacher and I thought there weren’t enough good books for children in my class you read, but I’ve always written and told stories. In fact, I used to make up stories for my two little brothers when they were in the bath!

I’ve always loved reading. I read a lot now – children’s, teens and adult books – and as a child I used to read by torchlight under the bedclothes after my parents had switched off my light! Reading can take you places. Enjoy!

Thanks Jill. Now, my newsletter readers will know that I always make authors visiting us share a picture of them as a child, the more cringeworthy the better – but this is a gorgeous pic – where is the pudding bowl haircut? The orange cords? I’m so disappointed haha!

Take care everyone and stay safe.

The Magic Faraway Tree grows up?

When I do author talks in schools (not that there will be any for a while thanks to Coronavirus), I’m often asked what the first book I ever wrote was. The answer is it was a fan fiction version of The Magic Faraway Tree – fully illustrated with a cover and blurb, so when I saw there was a book about a real faerie tree, how could I not be intrigued?

This is a fantastic book, no sickly sweet romance here at all – believable main characters that I cared about (and I loved that they were mature), strong supporting characters, solid settings and a plot that kept me wondering right the way through. I absolutely loved it. If you’re self-isolating or in lock down, this is definitely one for your kindle (don’t forget to enter the giveaway below). Wishing you all good health – please take care, and stay inside.

Giveaway

Enter her to win paperback copies of The Faerie Tree and The Cheesemaker’s House (UK Only) http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494359/?

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

The Faerie Tree

HOW CAN A MEMORY SO VIVID BE WRONG?
In the summer of 1986 Robin and Izzie hold hands under The Faerie Tree and wish for a future together. Within hours tragedy rips their dreams apart.

In the winter of 2006, each carrying their own burden of grief, they stumble back into each other’s lives and try to create a second chance. But why are their memories of 1986 so different? And which one of them is right?

With strong themes of memory, love and grief, The Faerie Tree is a novel as gripping and unputdownable as Jane Cables first book, The Cheesemaker’s House, which won the Suspense & Crime category of The Alan Titchmarsh Shows Peoples Novelist competition. It is a story that will resonate with fans of romance, suspense, and folklore.

Purchase Link 

http://viewbook.at/TheFaerieTree

Author Bio

Jane Cable writes romantic fiction with the over-riding theme that the past is never dead. She published her first two books independently (the multi award winning The Cheesemaker’s House and The Faerie Tree) and is now signed by Sapere Books. Two years ago she moved to Cornwall to concentrate on her writing full time, but struggles a little in such a beautiful location. Luckily she’s discovered the joys of the plot walk.

There’s never been a better time to start writing!

Hands up, how many of you are looking at self-isolation and thinking, “I’m actually going to write that book“? We’ve also got Camp Nano coming up in April (a wonderful supportive writers community), so, if I may set aside all the worries and difficulties, perhaps there has never been a better time to pick up your pen. I love a journal, and use a student planner myself because as a kids author that aligns with my planning. This journal is more focussed on creating a strong writing habit, giving you a clear structure and prompts to keep you going and I absolutely LOVE it. It’s a big beast (400 odd pages), so don’t be tempted to get a soft copy – you’re definitely going to need a printed version.

52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner

Are you ready to become the writer you were always meant to be? 52 Weeks of Writing will get you cracking by making you plan, track, reflect on, and check in with your progress and goals an entire year long. It will help you dig deep by offering questions and writing prompts designed to unravel whatever truths about your writing you’re ready for, and keep you inspired by delivering a thought-provoking writing quote every week. 

  • Do you struggle with setting goals that reflect your daily reality? 
  • Do you want to practise breaking goals down into manageable chunks? 
  • Would you like more insight into your writing habit(s) and figure out why you keep getting in your own way? 
  • And do you want to create a sustainable writing practice that honours your needs and desires as a writer? 

Then the 52 Weeks of Writing: Author Journal and Planner is for you. This book brings together every lesson Mariëlle S. Smith has learned as a writing coach and writer. Wary as she is of comparisonitis and unhealthy competition, this author journal and planner was designed to help writers develop and fine-tune a practice that works for them. If you’re ready to get out of your own way and become the writer you’re meant to be, pick up your copy of today. 

Competition time!

  • If that sounds good, wait until you see these prizes – Enter here! https://mswordsmith.nl/en_GB/giveaway/
  • THREE paperback copies of the 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner,
  • TWO paperback copies of Tarot for Creatives: 21 Tarot Spreads to (Re)Connect to Your Intuition and Ignite That Creative Spark, and
  • ONE coaching session.

Author Bio

Mariëlle S. Smith is a coach for writers and other creatives, an editor, (ghost) writer, and custom retreat organiser. In 2019, she moved to Cyprus, and island in the Mediterranean Sea, where she organises private writer’s retreats, is inspired 24/7, and feeds more stray cats than she can count.